After almost eleven months and 40,000 nautical miles, Derry-Londonderry born Clipper Race Skipper Conall Morrison and Round the World Crew Member Roseann McGlinchey have returned home.
Although there is still one more race to go in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, this arrival felt like a homecoming as the pair and their HotelPlanner.com teammates were cheered on by locals, supporters, family, and friends, who had lined the banks of the Foyle as the 70-foot ocean racing yacht joining the other Clipper Race teams at Derry-Londonderry’s Foyle Port Marina.
Conall said: “To arrive back in Derry-Londonderry is a big thing for me. I really couldn’t believe the welcome. A couple of boats came out to meet us at Greencastle and there were people lining the river.
“Some of my family were in Greencastle and my Mum and Dad were at Culmore Point and had banners which were really good. I can’t believe we are here, to be honest. It’s a strange feeling to me and it will take a few days for it to sink in I think.”
Roseann, a 24-year-old Marketing Officer from Lifford, also had family to welcome her and admits it was an emotional homecoming.
She said: “It was a really cool experience coming down the Foyle and my friends and family were there on the water.
“We had a great celebration when we crossed the finish line and it’s a stopover that means a lot to the whole team, not just myself and Conall. Everyone on board feels like they are coming home so it was just a great feeling.”
HotelPlanner.com crossed the finish line in an area northeast of the entrance to Lough Foyle at 14.56.10 UTC to complete the 3,000 nautical mile race across the Atlantic Ocean, the fast-paced sixth and final ocean crossing of the eleven-month circumnavigation, in just over 14 days.
“As a crew, we are pumped to be here,” said Conall.
“There will be so much to do and everyone’s really looking forward to seeing the sights and sharing our experience with the people of Derry-Londonderry.”
The Foyle Maritime Festival, which begins on Saturday 14 July, is particularly important for Roseann. Her Clipper Race journey began after watching the fleet come into Derry-Londonderry for the inaugural festival in 2012.
She said: “The Foyle Maritime Festival always brings a lot of excitement to the city. The council always goes all out for it and make the city look beautiful. The city has adopted the Clipper Race as part of the festival and it’s really nice to be such a big part of that.”
The Clipper Race is unique in that it trains non-professionals to be ocean faring sailors. Established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world, 40 per cent of Clipper Race crew have no previous sailing experience before signing up and undergoing the compulsory four weeks of training.
In total, 711 people representing 42 different nationalities and from all walks of life are taking part in the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper 2017-18 Race. In Leg 8, the Visit Seattle crew represent six different nationalities - Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, USA, Canada – with the ages ranging from 66 to 26.
The Derry-Londonderry Stopover is a much-anticipated stop on the global Clipper Race circuit, with the crew given a starring role in the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival. Over the next fortnight, locals and visitors to Derry-Londonderry will be able to get up close to the 70-foot ocean racing yachts and take part in an exciting programme of diverse events in celebration of the Clipper Race crew and their adventurous spirit.
The Foyle Maritime Festival will come to an end when the Clipper Race fleet departs for the final race to Liverpool on Sunday 22 July. The circumnavigation will come to an end at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool on July 28.